Sunday, June 17, 2012

Google Donates One Million Dollars to Local Schools

Some blog followers might be interested in a recent discussion-list post “Google Donates One Million Dollars to Local Schools” [Hake (2012)]. The abstract reads:

ABSTRACT: Frank Noschese of the Modeling discussion list pointed to a report “Google donates $1 million to local schools” [Veronin (2012a)] at Veronin wrote (paraphrasing): “The bulk of that money was used to set up the ‘Explicit Direct Instruction’ program. The district paid DataWORKS for the program which is designed to keep students engaged through a variety of methods - including the use of individual white boards and peer-to-peer quick-study sessions - while simultaneously allowing teachers to quickly identify those students who are having trouble with the material as well as those who have a grasp on concepts, so that they can spend time with those children who need extra help and let the faster kids move ahead. Efficiency is the name of the game with EDI.”

Concerning DataWORKS, Kate Rosok of the Modeling discussion list pointed to “Research Supporting EDI" [DataWORKS (2012)] at, which states (paraphrasing): “We aren't the only ones who feel that direct instruction is effective for students. Extensive research studies and meta-analyses have come to the same conclusion: Teacher-centered direct instruction is more effective and efficient, especially for struggling students. In fact, there is overwhelming research supporting teacher-centered instruction in lesson design and lesson delivery where teachers directly teach their students specific concepts and skills usually taken directly from the state content standards. . . . . A survey of six thousand students in introductory physics courses found that students in courses involving interactive engagement made substantial gains in problem solving abilities as well as the learning of physics [Hake (1998a)] at”

Evidently DataWORKS didn't bother to scan Hake (1998a), because that article strongly suggests that the “Direct Explicit Instruction” advocated by DataWORKS doesn't work nearly as well at “interactive engagement” in promoting conceptual understanding and problem-solving ability.

BTW, Gene Glass (2012) at has an insightful essay “High Button Shoes and Education Reform” regarding support of education by organizations such as Google and the Gates Foundation, which seem to have more money than knowledge of education.

To access the complete 16 kB post please click on .

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University
Links to Articles:
Links to SDI Labs:

“I point to the following unwelcome truth: much as we might dislike the implications, research is showing that didactic exposition of abstract ideas and lines of reasoning (however engaging and lucid we might try to make them) to passive listeners yields pathetically thin results in learning and understanding - except in the very small percentage of students who are specially gifted in the field.”
- Arnold Arons inTeaching Introductory Physics (p. vii, 1997)

REFERENCES [All URL’s shortened by and accessed on 17 June 2012.]
Arons, A.B. 1997. Teaching Introductory Physics. Wiley, publisher's information at information at

Hake, R.R. 2012. "Google Donates One Million Dollars to Local Schools," online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at Post of 17 Jun 2012 14:45:21-0700 to AERA-L and Net-Gold. The abstract and link to the complete post are also being transmitted to several discussion lists.

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